One Step Closer to the Origins of Life

Researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden have found that silica nanoparticles (pictured above) cause formless peptides in a water solution to take on a highly structured, functioning, helix-shaped protein. The further addition of amino acids caused the structure to take on the properties of a catalyst, like an enzyme in living cells – all from inorganic compounds!

One theory is that there wasn’t just one genesis of life on planet earth, and all that we have now is basically a descendant from that. The hypothesis states that life started and then would be wiped out by some cataclysmic event, having already gone through several stages of evolution. During these lifeless, in-between periods, the earth would appear as it once did – a harsh, volcanic ball of hot rock. The ingredients stated above (silica, peptides, and amino acids) should have been prevalent in the primordial clay of the earth, and it’s possible that simple chemical reactions such as these were able to occur over and over again.

These sorts of reactions may be happening in the field still today – a new genesis all around us, every day. If further tests verify these findings, and evidence of ancient bacteria are found on Mars (as more evidence of flowing water came in yesterday), then we can further postulate that life on earth is not a unique accident, and is more likely widespread throughout the universe.

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